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Mickey Harte reacts to Tyrone's continued RTE snub: I'm happy with that

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone GAA officials have told RTE that players and management will not take part in any of its media coverage around the upcoming All-Ireland final.

Mickey Harte's side have boycotted the Irish state broadcaster for several years.

However, this is the first year that the Red Hand County have advanced to the final - the biggest date in the GAA calendar - since the boycott began.

Tyrone play Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday, September 2.

As well as extensive coverage in the run-up to the game, traditionally RTE broadcasts from the hotel of the winning team after the final and interviews the manager and players.

However, in a statement yesterday RTE confirmed that Tyrone won't be participating in any of its coverage around the showpiece.

It said: "Last week RTE Sport extended the same invitation to Tyrone GAA that it has to Dublin GAA, and all previous All-Ireland finalists with regard to participation in RTE coverage across television, radio and digital platforms. This included pre-match, day of match at Croke Park, and post-match interviews.

"Tyrone GAA have informed RTE Sport that the Tyrone management and players do not wish to participate in any such media activity with RTE and we respect that decision."

The statement was released just before the Tyrone Press event in the county's Garvaghey GAA Centre near Ballygawley yesterday.

Asked if he was subject to any approach from RTE at the media event, Harte replied: "Not with me anyway."

Having been informed about the statement, he added: "Well, if that's what they did with those who have the choice over the contact, then that's fine, I'm happy with that."

The Tyrone management and team have had a blanket ban on contributing to RTE coverage since 2011, when a letter sent by Harte to its headquarters, in which he suggested RTE commentator Brian Carthy should be used more, was leaked to journalists.

Six months after the murder of Harte's daughter Michaela while on honeymoon in Mauritius, RTE radio aired a sketch on the John Murray show that included the song Pretty Little Girl From Omagh, which was seen as crassly insensitive.

Efforts to bridge the gap since then have not been successful, but former Tyrone players have appeared on RTE's The Sunday Game programme, such as Ryan McMenamin, Philip Jordan, Brian McGuigan, and more recently and most prominently, Sean Cavanagh.

Traditionally, the winners' banquet of an All-Ireland final has been covered with a live link-up to The Sunday Game broadcast.

However, should big underdogs Tyrone overturn the odds and beat three-in-a-row champions Dublin, this won't happen.

In the past this approach has caused tension with Tyrone's sponsors, who felt their brand did not get the promotion their backing of the county team might have granted them, while county board figures have also clashed with Harte over the stance.

But a number of former players have backed Harte on the issue, notably Joe McMahon, over the tendency of certain RTE pundits to insult Tyrone with gratuitous criticisms.

The three-time Sam Maguire winners are playing in their first final since 2008.

They beat Monaghan in the semi-final earlier this month to advance to the final against Dublin.

The Dubs beat Galway in their semi-final to stay on track for a fourth All-Ireland title in a row.

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